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Alison Schinkel-Ivy, Vicki Komisar, and Carolyn A. Duncan

Investigating balance reactions following continuous, multidirectional, support surface perturbations is essential for improving our understanding of balance control in moving environments. Segmental motions are often incorporated into rapid balance reactions following external perturbations to balance, although the effects of these motions during complex, continuous perturbations have not been assessed. This study aimed to quantify the contributions of body segments (ie, trunk, head, upper extremity, and lower extremity) to the control of center-of-mass (COM) movement during continuous, multidirectional, support surface perturbations. Three-dimensional, whole-body kinematics were captured while 10 participants experienced 5 minutes of perturbations. Anteroposterior, mediolateral, and vertical COM position and velocity were calculated using a full-body model and 7 models with reduced numbers of segments, which were compared with the full-body model. With removal of body segments, errors relative to the full-body model increased, while relationship strength decreased. The inclusion of body segments appeared to affect COM measures, particularly COM velocity. Findings suggest that the body segments may provide a means of improving the control of COM motion, primarily its velocity, during continuous, multidirectional perturbations, and constitute a step toward improving our understanding of how the limbs contribute to balance control in moving environments.

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Carolyn A. Duncan, Scott N. MacKinnon, and Wayne J. Albert

The purpose of this study was to examine how wave-induced platform motion effects postural stability when handling loads. Twelve participants (9 male, 3 female) performed a sagittal lifting/lowering task with a 10 kg load in different sea conditions off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Trunk kinematics and foot center of force were measured using the Lumbar Motion Monitor and F-Scan foot pressure system respectively. During motion conditions, significant decreases in trunk velocities were accompanied by significant increases in individual foot center of pressure velocities. These results suggest that during lifting and lowering loads in moving environments, the reaction to the wave-induced postural disturbance is accompanied by a decrease in performance speed so that the task can be performed more cautiously to optimize stability.